Rosberg leads the way at Valencia
||Monday, February 27th 2006, 16:54 GMT
Nico Rosberg delivered some good news for Williams at Valencia in Spain on Monday when he topped the first day of final pre-season testing.
The Williams driver outpaced McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa by two tenths of a second, as his team continued to put mileage on the seamless shift gearbox that they hope they will be able to start the season with.
Despite being edged out in the timesheets, de la Rosa was overjoyed with the performance of the latest spec Mercedes-Benz engine as he began a programme to evaluate its reliability.
The Spaniard completed a total of 146 laps and is hoping to complete two full race distances by tomorrow morning, after which Kimi Raikkonen will take over the car.
Speaking to autosport.com, de la Rosa could not hide his delight with the latest findings.
"This is the latest spec engine (for Bahrain)," he said. "The engine is definitely getting better. I am not saying it is perfect, but we are going in the right direction and I am happy - although I will be happier when we complete the two race distances."
Mark Webber was third fastest but suffered two mechanical problems during the course of the day.
Heikki Kovalainen only managed to complete 54 laps to set the fourth quickest time, bringing out the red flags once just before lunch, while Gary Paffett spent the day in the orange MP4-20.
He brought the red flags out at 3.30pm after deliberately running the car dry during fuel consumption tests.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:11.030 85
2. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:11.238 146
3. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:11.327 67
4. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:11.450 54
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:13.055 71
All Timing Unofficial